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Penelope & Prince Charming (Leisure Historical Romance) Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 2006

45 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the Nvengaria Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Unremarkable Penelope Trask has always loved fairy tales, but never expected to live one; unfortunately, Ashley's one-dimensional characters wouldn't do a nursery rhyme justice, much less this foray into fantasy romance. Everything changes for this ordinary young woman living in an ordinary 19th-century English village when Prince Damien Augustus Frederic Michel of the far-off kingdom Nvengaria rides into her life and claims an ancient prophecy naming her his princess. Naturally, there's a drawback: in order to fulfill the prophecy and regain control of his kingdom from a usurper, the prince must marry her immediately. Even more troubling, Penelope must travel alone with the brash Damien, whom she does not trust. The plot becomes increasingly fanciful en route to Nvengaria, as they encounter assassins, magic spells and an attack by a logosh—a shape-shifting half-human, half-beast. In the meantime, fueled by the prophecy's magic, passion between Penelope and Damien escalates—and escalates giving the story a pedestrian pace that suggests Ashley, known for her acclaimed Pirate series (The Care and Feeding of Pirates, etc.), has not yet shaken off her sea legs. (Apr.)
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From Booklist

After two disastrous betrothals, which earned her the nickname "Twice-a-Jilt," Penelope Trask concluded that the only "Prince Charming" she would ever encounter would be in the pages of the fairy tales she collects. Then Prince Damien Augustus Frederic Michel of Nvengaria arrives in Little Marching looking for Penelope, the woman whom fate had decreed would be the key to helping him reunite his kingdom. As one of Europe's most eligible bachelors, Damien has become accustomed to having any woman he wants, but sensible, sharp-tongued Penelope seems immune to the idea of wedding a sexy, foreign prince. Now Damien must find some way to convince Penelope that marrying him could be the key to her own happily-ever-after. Ashley's latest sinfully sexy historical Regency will delight and charm readers with its enchanting mix of fantasy and fairy-tale romance. John Charles
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Series: Leisure Historical Romance
  • Mass Market Paperback: 373 pages
  • Publisher: Leisure Books (April 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0843956062
  • ISBN-13: 978-0843956061
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,029,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Jennifer Ashley writes historical, paranormal, and contemporary romance as Jennifer Ashley; paranormal romance and urban fantasy as Allyson James; and mysteries as Ashley Gardner. Jennifer's novels have won RWA's RITA and RT Reviewer's Choice awards among others.

For information on her novels as Jennifer Ashley and Allyson James visit Also see (Ashley Gardner) for her other works.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By lwd on April 12, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I grew up with a little segment on Rocky and Bullwinkle called "Fractured Fairy Tales". "Penelope and Price Charming" is very much like one of those fun tales, but with a very sexy, adult theme. At one point in this book, the Prince actually tells a wonderfully skewed tale of Rapunzel that simply made my day.

Make no mistake, this is a pure romance novel, with just enough magic to keep it humming and give it added oomph. Ironically, the magic portion gives a good excuse for the main couple to have the mindless lust and love that usually seems so out of touch with reality in other romance novels. You know the parts I mean, where the heroine has an overwhelming and bizarre urge to lick the hero's chest, even though they've just met? I've always excused the man for losing his mind (testosterone poisoning is always a nifty excuse, poor dears), but I've yet to meet a woman who actually wanted to do that, and I'm always just a little stunned and embarrassed when she does. This one gives us a magical reason for that kind of behavior, and I was more comfortable with the story because of it.

There are a few sluggish spots, but never slow enough to make me want to put the book down or jump ahead. Because both Penelope and the Prince had such lustful (and very explicit) thoughts, there was a sensual buildup leading to the steamy love scenes and I wasn't screaming at the book, "get on with it!" Okay, maybe I was, but only because the buildup was really, really good.

Every character in the novel had a specific personality, and never did the author take an unnecessary shortcut or let them act contrary to their own beliefs. You understood why everyone did what they did, even the villain.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By MaryGrace Meloche on April 7, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Every author has a trump card, a golden gift that is uniquely theirs. For Karen Ranney - sentence structure. For Mary Balogh - poignancy. For Catherine Anderson - first-class heros. And for Jennifer Ashley? SENSUAL scenes! This author can write awesome, magnetic, sensual scenes. Whew! Her carnal action literally sizzles!

Damien, the Imperial Prince of Nvengaria, finally found her! His bride. Penelope Trask. A modest spinster who lived in a small English village and filled her days by writing fairytales. Remarkably, the prudent, sweet Penelope Trask would soon become the Imperial Highness Princess of Nvengaria, his wife. The sinful Prince of Nvengaria knew his people would adore her. She was beautiful and very spirited. Miss Penelope Trask would complete the prophecy; she would carry out the magic! This delightful sorceress would soon reunite his beloved Nvengaria.

Whether he was a prince or a trickster, he was the most baffling man Penelope had ever met. Prince Damien of Nvengaria talked of fairy tales, eight-hundred-year-old rings, and Midsummer festivals! Imagine a plain, English girl marrying royalty! Prophecy? Prosperous!

Penelope's peaceful existence soon grew into a tumultuous love affair. Sweet simplicity gave way to profuse love. Penelope wanted Damien to be free - free from fear and tension; she wanted him to live, to love, to reign. She would become his princess; she would become the people's princess; she would become the elegant Imperial Highness Princess Penelope of Nvengaria.

I am giving PENELOPE & PRINCE CHARMING page-turner status, because I liked Jennifer Ashley's story. I will admit, I am normally not a big fan of the fantasy/paranormal genre and here, at times, I did struggle with the fantasy/fairy tale concept. However, I did like Ms. Ashley's style. PENELOPE & PRINCE CHARMING was a light, clever, and very, very sexy read.
Grade: B

MaryGrace Meloche.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Corrine on January 3, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The first Jennifer Ashley book I read was THE MAD, BAD DUKE - the sequel to this story featuring Grand Duke Alexander and Meagen Tavistock - and I knew from the start that this book would start with a strong sexual attraction, and magic-induced love at first sight.

But there could have been so much more.

When Imperial Prince Damien of Nvengaria goes to Little Marching, England to find the princess to fulfill the prophecy that will restore him to his throne, he is immediately entralled with and strongly attracted to Penelope Trask, who he does not know is the woman he's been looking for. After almost seducing her in a meadow, Damien is in alt to discover that sensuous Penelope is the woman fate has tied him to.

Penelope, at first, is not so excited. She loves her calm peaceful life, and does not believe that after the spell wears off she will be the answer to Prince Damien's dreams. Damien, however, quickly conquers her fears and they are betrothed, bedded, and then married by English law very soon after. (In Nvengaria, betrothed couples are expected to mate before the wedding because they have already binded their lives together.)

The story was cute, but I didn't feel much emotion - besides desire - between the two characters. There was never any doubt in Damien's mind that he would have Penelope, and it would have been good to see such an arrogant man shaken up a little.

And, I can honestly say this is one of the kinkiest romance novels I've ever read - of those that were sold as strictly romance and not erotic romance. Reader beware, some of the scenes are not for those expecting a sweet confirmation of love or even a sensual, earthy act of possession.
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